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Income Tax Department Sets April 30 Deadline for Pending Refunds Approval

Last updated: 10 April 2024

In a significant relief for taxpayers awaiting their income tax refunds, the Income Tax Department has announced a deadline of April 30 for the approval of pending refunds. This move comes amidst a flurry of activity within the department, with more than 46,000 income tax returns filed within the first five days of the Assessment Year 2024-25 portal opening on April 1. Notably, nearly 3,000 returns have already undergone processing, signaling a proactive approach by tax authorities.

An official source revealed that the department has formulated an interim action plan for the current fiscal year, outlining specific timelines for various taxpayer-related activities. "Approval of pending refunds has been prioritized under immediate action. Our aim is to ensure the approval of all pending refunds by April 30, 2024, particularly those withheld under section 241A, where scrutiny assessments have been concluded and necessary orders passed," stated the official.

Income Tax Department Sets April 30 Deadline for Pending Refunds Approval

Section 241A of the Income Tax Act empowers Assessing Officers to withhold refunds if their grant is deemed likely to adversely affect revenue. Despite the substantial refunds totaling over ₹3.36-lakh crore issued in the fiscal year 2023-24 until March 17, concerns persist among taxpayers regarding pending refunds from not only the previous fiscal year but also earlier periods.

"All pending refunds related to e-returns filed on the Income Tax Business Application (ITBA) for all assessment years must be approved by Jurisdictional Assessment Officers or Range Heads by April 30," emphasized the official.

National Faceless Assessment Center

In parallel, the department has set another crucial deadline for cases facing potential time constraints, specifically those slated to be time-barred by March 31, 2025. The concept of time-barred cases, as delineated in section 148 of the Income Tax Act, empowers tax officials to issue notices to taxpayers whose incomes haven't been properly assessed. While notices are typically issued within three years from the end of assessment years, this period can be extended to ten years if concealed income exceeds ₹50 lakh.

"June 30 has been designated as the deadline for disposing of penalties in at least half of the cases facing potential time-bar by next March," added the official.

TDS Cases and Disposal Deadlines

Furthermore, the department has allotted one month for the disposal of all pending applications as of April 1, 2024, concerning NIL or lower Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) / Tax Collected at Source (TCS). "All fresh applications will also be disposed of within a month of receipt," affirmed the official. Additionally, orders are expected to be passed by June 30 in cases where TDS surveys were conducted up to March 31, 2024.

In essence, the Income Tax Department's proactive measures aim to streamline processes, address pending concerns, and ensure timely resolution of taxpayer issues, reinforcing the commitment towards efficient governance and taxpayer satisfaction.

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